– The reported birth of the world's first decuplets has left the wife of the babies' father depressed.
– Sibongile Gxekwa said her husband, Teboho Tsotetsi, cheated on her with the babies' mother, Gosiame Thamara Sithole.
– Gxekwa said the news broke her psychologically.
When the news of the birth of 10 babies to a Tembisa woman broke, the feat was celebrated around the world.
But for Sibongile Gxekwa, 47, it collapsed her world because the babies' father, Teboho Tsotetsi, is her husband.
Earlier this week, Pretoria News reported that Gosiame Thamara Sithole, 37, gave birth to decuplets at an undisclosed Pretoria hospital.
But in the days that followed, the birth became shrouded in mystery. No public or private facility would confirm the delivery or care of the babies.
On Thursday, Gxekwa poured her heart out to News24 and said that Tsotetsi started seeing Sithole behind her back in 2020.
"He even went as far as going out almost every evening and returned in the wee hours of the morning," said Gxekwa.
"When he started his escapades of going out at night, I confronted him about the cheating. I told him that the person he was seeing was either staying alone or residing with her parents. At the time, I didn't know who she was."
He ultimately impregnated her. I recently learnt that she was pregnant with eight children. She also has other children, including triplets, apart from the twins the media has reported about. My husband even asked for prayers from his church for his girlfriend to give birth to healthy children.
Once it was announced that Sithole was pregnant, the Tsotetsi family turned against Gxekwa, she said.
Gxekwa said she was told that the decuplets were in incubators at a hospital in Pretoria.
"He has not told me anything about his new 10 children. He promised that we would talk about his new children upon his return from Cape Town on Wednesday. He has ordered me not to speak to the media about this matter. He has threatened to chase me away from our marital home.”
While Gxekwa lives in their marital home in Tembisa, Sithole moved in with Tsotetsi's mother in Lifateng section, Tembisa.
Tsotetsi lives between the two houses, Gxekwa claims.
I dated my husband when I was 15 years old. In 2006, he completed his lobola for me. Since the news broke, I have not been feeling well. This entire situation has depressed me. We are both unemployed. My children and I survive on the money we receive from my parents.
Both a relative and a friend confirmed to News24 that Gxekwa and Tsotetsi were married traditionally.
Family spokesperson Makgoshi Maponyane, from branding company Facade Estillo, didn't respond to News24's calls and messages.
Itirileng Matabane, a caretaker on the property where Sithole used to rent a room, said she knew her as "Modiegi".
"She lived with her two minor twins and a male relative. Sithole has also told me that she has a set of triplets residing with her relative in Soweto. I was surprised when I heard that she had given birth to decuplets because of the size of her stomach.
"After falling pregnant, her tummy started growing and prevented her from walking. She was walking using crutches. She told people in Esangweni that she was expecting sextuplets. She disappeared without paying her two-month rent, and we heard that she was residing in Lifateng section. I am happy for her and hope that she will raise her decuplets with warmth and love," Matabane said.
Tsotetsi's relative, Nonhlanhla Tsotetsi, said while she had not seen the children yet, they were alive:
We are happy for her. God is great. We have never seen such a thing. This is God's miracle. We didn't expect that she would give birth to decuplets. I heard that she was expecting either eight or nine children. I am looking forward to assisting her in raising her newly born children. Raising 10 children is not child's play. We need to help our sister. My wish is for the children to have a huge first birthday celebration.
On Thursday, the Gauteng social development department was supposed to meet Sithole and her children but the meeting didn't happen.
Gauteng government spokesperson Thabo Masebe said they weren't able to trace Sithole and the decuplets.
On Wednesday, City of Ekurhuleni mayoral spokesperson Phakamile Mbengashe said the Tsotetsi family appointed a spokesperson to engage with the media and public.
A senior lecturer at Wits University, Dr Amy Wise, who is a maternal and foetal subspecialist in the obstetrics and gynaecology department and acting head of the obstetrics and gynaecology at the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital, said it was possible that the birth slipped under the radar.
"Patients' medical information is private, so the doctors who were involved in the case would not have been allowed to discuss the case. It's not something that we discuss on a WhatsApp group. You are not allowed to put people's information out there."
Wise said that in a high-risk pregnancy like Sithole's, the mother would have to be referred to a high-risk care facility and receive scans every two weeks to monitor the growth of the babies.
This would also assist in assessing the risk to the mother and babies.
Sithole is said to have given birth to five children naturally and the other five via a C-section.
"If it was a planned birth, we would offer a Caesarean. But if someone went into labour fast, then she can give birth vaginally."
She said multiple pregnancy mothers had an increased risk of developing hypertension and diabetes.
Wise said the medical team would ideally include one paediatrician and nurse per baby, who would work with two anaesthetists, a surgeon and an assistant.
The babies are reported to have been born at 29 weeks.
Wise added that the decuplets might stay in hospital for at least two months, and Sithole would only need a couple of days to recuperate and be monitored for complications.
Attempts to solicit comment from Tsotetsi were unsuccessful.
Relatives directed News24 to Pretoria News editor Piet Rampedi, who they said was speaking on behalf of the family.
"In December last year, he took Sithole and her minor twins to stay with his mother. He often sleeps at his parental home and leaves our two young children and me. Our eldest daughter and her two children have relocated to his mother's home.